LibDems promise to give Tories ‘bloody nose’ over Cane Hill

The Liberal Democrats standing in Coulsdon East in May’s local elections say that they want to give the incumbent Tories at the Town Hall a “bloody nose” because of what they call a “fiasco” over the mishandling of the planning applications for development at Cane Hill.

The LibDem candidates for Coulsdon East in May's local elections: Ashley Burridge (left) Gill Hickson and Arfan Bhatti

The LibDem candidates for Coulsdon East in May’s local elections: Ashley Burridge (left) Gill Hickson and Arfan Bhatti

The three candidates selected by the LibDems for Coulsdon East are Gill Hickson, Arfan Bhatti and Ashley Burridge.

The last time a “third party” was represented at Croydon Town Hall was after the 2002 council elections, when Ian Atkins won one of the three seats in Coulsdon East for the LibDems, polling the most votes of all candidates in the ward.

Croydon Council has been a Labour-Tory duopoly since 2006, when the Conservatives took back control of the Town Hall.

And while the south of the borough gives all the appearance of being “true blue”, the handling of issues around Coulsdon has caused so much discontent locally that some residents’ associations have even called for the area to “breakaway” from the London borough, to throw their lot in with Surrey County Council.

Croydon Council withdrew its Coulsdon “Master”plan late last year, faced with overwhelming opposition from well-organised and resourced residents associations and a possible legal challenge from a neighbouring local authority. Residents in Coulsdon and Chipstead and Banstead in Surrey want a second road exit from the proposed Barratts development of 675 houses on the 83-hectare site of the former Cane Hill asylum to avoid excessive traffic levels through Coulsdon.

Although, with council agreement, Barratts withdrew their planning application before Christmas, promising to review the proposals including the road plan, it has re-submitted its plans this week, with no significant changes from the original scheme – and no second road exit from Cane Hill.

“We are stunned that the council has decided a southern exit isn’t essential for the Cane Hill site,” Hickson told Inside Croydon.

“After gauging public opinion, via the survey in our latest newsletter, we will be looking to start a petition with the local RAs and lobby groups.

“The whole thing has been a fiasco from the beginning and if Barratts and the council hadn’t colluded in putting through plans that make no sense to anyone else, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. Power has obviously gone to their heads and its time to give them a bloody nose,” Hickson said.

Hickson has lived in Coulsdon for 26 years, having been a parent-governer at Coulsdon High and is now on the commttee of ECRA, the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association.

Bhatti has lived in Coulsdon East all his life. Following university and travelling he interned at Tom Brake MP’s office in Carshalton before securing a job at LibDem HQ.

Burridge runs a local business, and has previous experience as a councillor in Tandridge. He wants to ensure we receive good local services and cuts don’t harm the local community.

At the last local elections, in 2010, Coulsdon East elected Chris Wright, Justin Cromie and Terry Lenton as its councillors, each of them polling at least 3,300 votes – at least 1,200 more than their nearest challenger, the aforementioned LibDem Atkins. It suggests that the LibDems would need a swing of around 10 per cent from the Tories if they are to return their first councillor to Croydon Town Hall in eight years.

The Tories in Coulsdon East are due to select their candidates on Saturday, with Coulsdon West making its selections on Sunday.

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3 Responses to LibDems promise to give Tories ‘bloody nose’ over Cane Hill

  1. davidcallam says:

    Let’s be wildly optimistic and assume the LibDems can get all three of their candidates elected. They will still represent a small minority of the council as a whole and their NIMBY views will be ignored. As for moving Coulsdon out of Greater London: the idea is so unlikely as not to be worth serious consideration.

    • Ah so we should stick with the status quo of blue or red, not question the decisions of our governments, not protect our local areas and residents, not make suggestions that spark debate and consideration, not question our leaders on transparency and ownership and simply tow the ‘party’ line?

      Sorry but if that makes us NIMBYs and a ‘minority’, I’m pleased to be a ‘NIMBY’

  2. Let’s be wildly optimistic and assume the LibDems can get all three of their candidates elected. Given what would appear to be – according to Andrew Pelling’s tweets – a very close election, the gang of three may end up holding the balance of power in a Council where there is No Overall Control. That would be good for democracy – I’d sooner that than see some cabinet clique force their mad ideas on the rest of us for four years.

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